Tears, Emotions, & Prayer

All too often we try to shut down our emotions and pretend they don’t exist, especially in church settings. However, I, as a human, am an emotional being created in the image of a God who also has emotions! So why do we keep acting like emotions are taboo?

Over the past year, I have dealt with some pretty hard, sad things. People super close to me have too. I have had many times that I went to pray about it and I literally couldn’t do anything but cry. But here’s the thing, I believe that those tears were prayers too. Those tears, God understood. Even in the Bible, Christ showed emotion! We read in John 11:35 that, “Jesus wept”. Not just shed a tear, but WEPT!

That is why I believe that tears on the altar are one of the purest forms of worship.

Jesus said in Luke 10:27, “…love the Lord your God with all your heart, and will all your soul, and with all your strength and with all your mind…” Our minds control emotion, and our hearts break, so I believe giving our emotions to God is worship and God honoring.

Sometimes our prayers will just consist of tears and hurting, and that’s okay. Sometimes our prayers will be very deep and articulate, and that’s okay. Sometimes our prayers will be awkward and uncomfortable, and that’s okay, because God doesn’t mandate what our prayers look like, and He Himself created us to be diverse and to have emotions.

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”

‭‭[Psalms‬ ‭56:8‬]


The Conversation in the Library

Story time.

This past Monday I was at the local community college where I take some dual credit classes. I was in a group of people talking in the library. One of the men asked me what my major will be when I attend university in the fall. I replied, “Theology & Pastoral Ministry” and proceeded to tell him I was called to be a pastor. I wasn’t sure how he would react because it’s a sensitive topic. He began speaking about how he is trying out different churches and how it seems like there are so many denominations. I agreed. We discussed some of the differences and somehow got onto the topic of Complementarianism vs Egalitarianism (one of my favorite topics to discuss) and we had similar views on this (both egalitarian).

He then asked me a question I wasn’t expecting, “So how do you think racism affects the church?” I gave him my answer which went into how it creates injustice, hurt, and turns people away from the true love of Christ. He proceeded to ask me another question, “How are these people in churches justifying their racist beliefs and actions?!” I could tell he was speaking from experience and wanted to know how I, a white Christian, felt about it. We discussed many things but ultimately our main answer was that people twist scripture to fit their lifestyle, motives, or personal agenda instead of taking Jesus and scripture and letting that shape your actions and lifestyle.

It was a great conversation about gender and racial equality in the church. How it is right and more often, how it goes wrong. I’m writing this to let you know that people deal with racism and gender inequality all the time in church. It hurts & confuses people, and definitely doesn’t draw people close to Jesus. If you have never discussed problems within the church, now is a great time to start asking those tough questions. We NEED to have these conversations more and actually change our actions to combat injustice. We NEED to be showing the love and the actions of Christ in church, and the world around us. Our God is a just God, so maybe we should try to be a just people as well.


The Lie Christians Should Stop Saying

Unfortunately there are many things we, as Christians, say that aren’t true. “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” Is one of the biggest lies I’ve ever heard told in church and Christian communities. It is not a statement ever found in the Bible or backed up by biblical truth. I think we say this as a way of lying to ourselves because we are afraid of trials and tribulation. Which WILL happen. That is in fact biblical and told to us many times. In fact, I personally believe that God will and does give us more than we can handle. Not because He hates us or is punishing us, but because it forces us to depend on and trust in God during these situations. It refocuses our mind back onto our Almighty God and makes us realize we CAN’T do things alone. We need God. When we go through these trials that are more than we can handle, God is going to be there with us the entire way if we seek Him and ask for help.

“My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge.” {Psalm 62:7}

Apathy & Christianity

The dictionary definition of the word apathy is “a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern.” But a better definition is “people just not giving a damn.” Apathy is one of the great evils in this world and its terrifying how many people live in this life of just not caring.

The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” -Albert Einstein. The first version of apathy is: Apathy toward the world. An example of this is someone not caring for injustices that are hurting the world and the people around us. Or when people don’t bother to help those in need either because they don’t care, or they say it doesn’t affect them. The people who usually read my blog are Christians so I’m going to assume the person reading this is familiar with the Bible and the stories of Jesus. Think about every story in the gospels when Jesus is there. The LAST thing Jesus would ever be is apathetic toward the people around Him. “The greatest cruelty is our casual blindness to the despair of others.” -Anonymous

There is a second version of apathy I want to talk to you about and it is just as bad-if not worse- than the first one. It is: Apathy towards God. What does that look like? Well it can come in many forms from not caring about having a relationship with Christ, to not having the want to share the Gospel. The most common form of apathy towards God from Christians is not caring about God’s mission or purpose for the world or us. Jesus spoke to His disciples in John 21:16-17 saying, “16Jesus repeated he question: ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ Peter said, ‘you know I love you.’ ‘Then take care of my sheep,’ Jesus said. 17 A third time he asked him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, ‘Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Then feed my sheep.’” I think it is pretty clear what God’s mission is for us. To care for others, to share the Gospel, and to love others.

Here’s the thing, there really isn’t two versions of apathy. They are intertwined and go together. By truly seeking God and caring about His mission for the world, then you definitely won’t be apathetic toward the world, considering Christ’s mission is ABOUT THE WORLD! The greatest commandment in the entire Bible is to love one another, and if you love one another, you will have an interest, enthusiasm, and concern for the world- you won’t be apathetic towards it. “If your theology doesn’t lead you to love people more, you should question your theology.” I am sure many of you have heard the term “Christian Activists” before. There shouldn’t be people labeled “Christian Activists”! For we should all be Christian activists! We should be active Christians. Active in exemplifying the character of God and seeking justice for the world. Here is a link to a speech made by Charlie Chaplin. I highly encourage you to watch it because it is so moving & is still relevant today. My favorite quote from it is, “We think to much, and feel too little, more than machinery, we need humanity, more that cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness.

I challenge you to evaluate your life and see if you are an apathetic Christian. Because it is easier than you think to slip into the selfish world of apathy- of not caring. This is exactly what Satan wants. He wants a bunch of Christians sitting on their butts NOT caring, NOT proclaiming Christ, NOT striving for justice, NOT bettering the world, NOT being on fire for God. So I beg you, don’t fall into that trap